The importance of website content categorization
The importance of website content categorization

The importance of website content categorization

There are websites that enable you to search for content on the internet. There are websites that businesses have, that generally work as their sales front-end or lead generators. And businesses can be of many different kinds. There are websites that are social media platforms that encourage interaction between people and sharing of content. There are websites that could be created to disseminate information about a specific event, say the Wimbledon tennis tournament in 2021 or a concert of Justin Bieber in Sao Paulo, Brazil. There could be people interested in publishing and sharing their thoughts through weblogs, or blogs and video blogs, or vlogs. There could be websites dedicated to portfolios of creative artists like painters, writers and musicians that seek to promote their work. Then there are websites that provide news and updates on happenings around the world.

In short, a website can be of any type.

Whatever the type of website, oWorkers understands it and knows about it. In its journey of eight years, it has supported a wide set of global clients to handle support functions like categorization and focus on their primary business. Its success can be measured by the growth in relationships over this period. oWorkers is recognized as one of the three best providers of back-office BPO services in the world. And it is not an isolated recognition.

But, what does this have anything to do with categorization?


What website content categorization is, and isn’t

In simple terms, it means the categorization of websites based on their content. BBC might be categorized as a news website while Twitter might be placed under social media.

So, who decided that news and social media will be a part of the list of categories?

Nobody. Or, anybody.

Website categorization is a natural activity that exists independently in the world on its own, ready to affix a stamp on every new website that is being created and modified, based on a pre-existing, natural algorithm that is not known to humans. Right?

Nothing like that. A category field does not even exist on the registration form for a new website where you either fill or select the category from a dropdown list.

So, how are categories decided and on what basis are websites categorized?

Website content categorization is an activity created by human beings for a commercial purpose. That of helping people make sense of the millions of websites in existence for various purposes that will be touched upon later in this article.

Hence, it could be done by many people and organizations, each for meeting their own unique objectives and for satisfying the perceived needs of their identified set of target clients. Hence, it perhaps follows that there is no requirement for any two to be similar to each other. Moreover, to answer a question asked earlier in this text, news and social media may not even be a part of the list of categories maintained by a provider. Of course, the web is a living, moving, evolving being. Categories may need to keep evolving too, to keep pace with it.

However, while it remains true that a website categorization service may create its own list of categories, there is a list which is perhaps viewed as some sort of a standard list. This is the list developed by the IAB (alternatively the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Internet Advertising Bureau). As is perhaps evident, it has been created with the primary purpose of enabling advertisers to choose how and where their ads should be visible. It offers approximately 400 categories for users to choose from over multiple levels of categorization.

It must also be remembered that:

  • Website content categorization has nothing to do with website rankings based on visitors or any other parameter
  • Categorization defined by a website for itself or for the content inside them, is not relevant for a categorization service

The talented staff at oWorkers understand what categorization is and also what it isn’t. Being active participants in the communities it hires from, oWorkers is blessed with a year-round traffic of interested jobseekers, giving them a choice for various roles. It also keeps their hiring costs low, as they do not need to advertise for candidates, which eventually gets passed back to clients as better pricing. Many clients, particularly from Western Europe and the US, mention savings of almost 80% after outsourcing work to oWorkers, and getting the benefit of their transparent pricing models.

The walk-in talent pool gives them, and consequently their clients, other benefits too, like flexibility of handling ramps. Most businesses go through ups and downs in volumes, driven by seasonality or based on specific events. The deep talent pool oWorkers has access to, enables them to meet these short-term requirements without breaking a sweat. They can hire almost a hundred additional people within 48 hours. This is a substantial saving for clients who may otherwise have to hire resources for the full year.


The need for website content categorization

An activity will be carried out only if it delivers some use for someone. That someone will either undertake the activity or pay someone else who is doing the activity that is useful for him, or his company.

Categorization of website content is no different. It is done because there are certain uses and applications of the categorization, which could also be called benefits.

So, what are the benefits of website content categorization?

Reliable identification

A website or web page can be created by anyone. Each creator has a view about the web property they are creating and it is done with a certain objective in mind. As a result, they might follow a system of assigning categories and tags to the website and its content that takes them closer to their objectives, even if these categories and tags are at odds with the general understanding the world might have of the content offered on their website.

As opposed to a self-classification, a third-party doing the classification is likely to be a more neutral one where the world view takes precedence over the view of the website owner. This information can be valuable for many companies.

Detecting malicious websites

As earlier stated, a website or web page can be created by anyone. Not everyone may have noble intentions, as proven time and again in the course of history. Websites are no different.

Cyberattacks can have a disastrous consequence for organizations big and small. Theft of information and disruption of automated processes could result from malware attacks. In addition, they could also open up the business for consequential damages to third parties, apart from loss of consumer confidence. If you come to know that a certain travel portal you have been using for your bookings has been the target of a cyberattack resulting in the loss of data pertaining to customer logins and their passwords. Apart from losing respect for the portal, you would also run the risk of those IDs and PWs being misused as many people use similar, if not the same, IDs and PWs across many websites.

In such cases, prevention is certainly better than trying to cure it later. The ability to identify such sites will certainly give you a head start.

Staff access

Productivity of employees is closely monitored by many employers. With many of the applications used by employees gradually becoming web based, access to the internet for employees, that may have been a choice many years back, is now a given.

With access to the internet comes the ability to access the billions of websites out there. Apart from being potential malware hazards for the company’s network, it can also be viewed as a waste of productive time. Hence, the company may wish to block access to certain types of websites from being accessed by employees, or give access only on a need-to-access basis instead of making it a default. The marketing team may need access to social media websites but the sales team may not.

Insights made available by web categorization tools can help companies in even determining which ones to block and which ones to permit access to.

Marketing decisions

Categorization operates as an aid to marketing decision-making. With marketing spends moving towards online marketing, it is important to spend wisely and get the maximum mileage out of those spends.

With limitations on online marketers’ access to browsing information of people gradually increasing, website categories are often used as a good surrogate to take decisions regarding contextual marketing and placement of advertisements. It allows for display of ads on websites that target customers are expected to visit and browse, instead of doing it only on the basis of keywords and tags.

It not only helps to create a positive list which the company is comfortable in being associated with, it also helps them avoid association with unsavory websites that could tarnish the brand. 

Parental control

This is a bit like access to staff members. School-going children are extensive users of the internet. With the Covid-19 enforced lockdowns, much of school education has moved online. In order to prevent exposure of children to inappropriate content, parents can use categories to block access to websites for their children.

oWorkers understands the importance of categorization for its clients. In addition to trained human resources, oWorkers is able to access the latest technology tools suitable for this activity, thanks to its enduring partnership with leading providers of technology. Our clients also benefit from our relationships because eventually these technologies are used for client projects.

Our staff being employees, as opposed to freelancers and contractors used by many competitors, have a stake in the success of client projects. On the flip side, they benefit from the constant guidance they receive from oWorkers for performance improvement as well as progress in their careers. It makes for a symbiotic relationship, with both feeding off each other.


How is it done?


Like most other things, it can be done manually. Before anything is automated, it is manual. Once a process or task becomes ongoing, automation solutions are sought that help in increasing processing volumes and efficiency and relieving humans of repetitive tasks.

In manual categorization, a set of users will typically review the content of a website, identify relationships, keywords, concepts, etc. and place it in a category as defined by the rules and requirements of the organization.

However, there is a challenge. According to the Hosting Tribunal, there are over 2 billion websites in existence with under 400 million of these being active.

Handling such volumes, even assuming it were possible, would be extremely time-consuming, expensive and slow.


With the help of technology and tools built for the purpose, website categorization is generally handled through automation. It could be simple taxonomy-based mix and match engines or more advanced technologies that leverage Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Automated tools may have a schedule of crawling through the web and categorizing websites and maintaining the data on their files that can be accessed by users. They could, generally in addition, and sometimes only, have an online and real-time categorization process through which as soon as a website is called, their engine will ingest that URL, study it, categorize it, and release the information to the caller. Once again, the information generated will be retained for the benefit of other users.

Subscribers to automated website content categorization services will get the benefit of this workflow when a user within their network calls a website.

There are many providers but, as always, the quality varies and the offerings may be different too, including their method of categorization. You will need to ensure that the service will be able to maintain an updated database and be in a position to scan ‘on the fly.’

It is probably ironic, but the best automated tools are the ones that are able to mimic the human mind and human process the closest. The same applies to content categorization tools.

oWorkers being GDPR compliant and ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified keeps your business secure when you partner with them. In addition, they operate from secure facilities in three different parts of the world. In fact, oWorkers has been one of the earliest BPOs to equip staff to work from home, ensuring their clients’ businesses remained unaffected during the peak of the Covid-19 driven lockdowns around the world. Today, oWorkers is fully equipped to work from the office as well as home, depending on the situation on any given day.


Common categories

Each company’s strategy for website content categorization might be unique, based on their own understanding of the concept as well as the positioning of their offering and target customer segment.

The following is an indicative list of categories that one is likely to find in most tools:

  • E-commerce
  • Gaming
  • Gambling and betting
  • Sports
  • Job search
  • Drugs
  • News
  • Video streaming
  • Legal
  • Social Media
  • Music
  • Malicious
  • Adult
  • Phishing
  • DDNS Services
  • Search engine
  • Pornographic
  • Remote Proxies
  • Web Mail
  • Chats
  • Instant Messaging


With several unicorn marketplaces as longtime clients, oWorkers understand the challenges of this work as well as client concerns. They have centers in three of the most sought-after delivery locations in the world and employ a multi-cultural team which enables them to offer services in 22 languages.

It is led by a management team with over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry. Under their guidance, oWorkers has been going from strength to strength.

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